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Dermatology Online Journal

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Greater distance to an academic medical center is associated with poorer melanoma prognostic factors: The University of Colorado Experience


Introduction: Numerous studies report a correlation between distance to diagnostic provider in an academic medical center and poorer prognosis ofdisease. Limited research on this topic exists with respect to melanoma.

Methods: This was a retrospective chart review of 1,463 adults (≥18 years) initially diagnosed with melanoma between 2006-2016. Associations between distance traveled and Breslow depth and presence of metastatic disease were assessed via cumulative and binary logistic regression models, adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics.

Results: Subjects traveling ≥50 miles had 58% greater odds of having an increased Breslow depth than those traveling less than that distance (OR: 1.58; 95% CI: 1.24-2.01; p<0.0001), and had four times the odds of presenting with metastatic disease (OR: 4.04; 95% CI: 3.00-5.46; p<0.0001).

Discussion: We highlight the correlation between increased distance to our academic medical center with greater Breslow depths and the presence ofmetastatic disease at presentation.

Conclusion: Future studies assessing other factors and regional differences that limit access to diagnosis might help improve screening efforts to prevent poorer prognosis for patients in these areas.

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